A 25-year anniversary is a rare victory, and Tulsan 90s pop-rock heartthrobs Hanson are making sure they do it right. For the last five months the trio have been living out of their suitcases for their epic world tour in honour of their 1997 multi-platinum, debut album, Middle of Nowhere. If that weren’t enough, the brothers have just released the Mrs Claus of all sequels to their universally beloved 1997 Christmas album Snowed In.
In the same spirit, Finally It’s Christmas is a combination of originals and iconic holiday favourites. The 14-track offering adopts a 60’s rock n’ roll energy that will make you want to bust out the dancing shoes while gorging on a Candy Cane milkshake.
Kicking off festivities is the title track, a buoyant anthem complete with Jersey Boy-inspired harmonies, piano glissando and killer instrumental solos. Infectious melody and the boys’ unbridled enthusiasm make it the perfect appetizer.
Second off the bat is a reimagined rendition of Paul McCartney’s A Wonderful Christmas Time; a refreshingly upbeat number that removes the repetitiveness of the original in replace of a new chorus and wider dynamics.
Isaac is a suave operator in the feel-good original, Til New Years Night; a rock n’ roll anthem to make Elvis proud. The lyrics deliver an almost animated quality with gems such as “Knocked on the door, Hello Mrs Claus/Ruby Red lips like the Wizard of Oz” and “It’s so hot I stepped on an elf!”
Zac shows his soulful side during doo-wop-style ditty Please Come Home, while Taylor sings his heart out with a more temperamental rendition of Elvis Presley’s Blue Christmas, complete with grunts, falsetto and wails.
The trio amp up the energy and add new life in Mariah Carey’s ubiquitous hit All I Want For Christmas, while they replace Aretha Franklin’s coquettish charm and cruisy swing for masculine swagger in Winter Wonderland.
One of the best tracks is Joy To The Mountain, a funkadelic gospel mashup of traditional hymns Joy To The World and Go Tell It On The Mountain. Reminiscent of Whoopi Goldberg’s Sister Act movies from the nineties, this beauty radiates pure bliss.
The lads bring their massive tribe of kids into the action, singing brief choruses from Rudolf the Rednosed Reindeer and Jingle Bells. Although sweet, the vintage-style recording makes the tracks slightly eerie.
Peace On Earth travels back to the birth of Jesus and strips away all the commercialised gimmicks by beginning and ending with “Do you know the reason for the season?”
The album closes with Issac channelling his inner Frank Sinatra in ‘milk and cookies’ lullaby A Merry Little Christmas, a very fitting finale.
When Snowed In was first released, Hanson were still going through puberty and their music was squeakier, a little unsure, and certainly more defined by what their record label wanted. Finally It’s Christmas is solid evidence of their evolution, from the fully developed and rich sound to the expanded use of creative ingenuity and confident execution. This truly is the light and frothy potion to amplify the season and defeat any lingering scrooge fever!
Finally It’s Christmas is out now.